Sat 10 Sep 2022

Virves closes in on Junior title

Robert Virves is three stages away from the FIA Junior WRC title after a fault-free Saturday at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece.

Virves avoided any major setbacks to maintain a comfortable 53.2sec lead over second-placed Jon Armstrong in the all-Ford Fiesta Rally3 field.

The Estonian began Saturday with a 1min 47sec gap over Ulsterman Armstrong, who lost around 1min 30sec when he was stopped to change a wheel on Friday’s final stage.

With such a lead in demanding conditions, Virves avoided taking too many risks on Saturday, instead allowing his rivals to fight it out for stage win points as he remained focused on closing in on the title. That enabled Armstrong to pull back more than half a minute on the rugged gravel terrain. 

Sitting in third overall is William Creighton. The Irishman experienced a wheel hub issue on SS10 which saw him lose more than three minutes on Virves and Armstrong, but it did not affect his overall standing.

Defending champion Sami Pajari returned to action on Saturday after being forced to retire on Friday morning when he ran out of spare wheels. The Finn went on the offensive and claimed five out of six stage wins, which could prove crucial as he fights to finish the season in the top-three.

Mcrae Kimathi completed Saturday in fifth position whilst Lauri Joona was forced to retire with a gearbox issue on a road section during the morning loop.

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